|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.03(h) x 0.65(d)|
About the Author
Nancy Cobb is a popular speaker at women's retreats. She led a Bible study of over 500 women for four years in Raleigh, North Carolina, and has previously worked on the team of Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy Graham, in teaching seminars to women at the Billy Graham Training Center. She is the Leader of Women's Ministries at Christ Community Church, a congregation of over 5,000, and spends much of her time mentoring younger women. She and her husband, Ray, have four grown children and live in Omaha, Nebraska.
Read an Excerpt
Is There A MOOSE In Your Marriage?
By NANCY COBB CONNIE GRIGSBY
Multnomah PublishersCopyright © 2000 Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby
All right reserved.
Chapter OneGiven by God
The turning point in a marriage is often so small and unheralded you can almost miss it.
there it was. The suitcase. Standing at the top of the basement stairs. The very sight of it made her angry. Her husband had just returned from a business trip and had left the suitcase there, assuring her that very soon he would take it downstairs and put it away.
A week later the suitcase was still there. Since the washing machine was in the basement, she was forced to step over it time and time again as she did the laundry. Before long, the way she treated her husband was directly related to the number of times she stepped over the suitcase. It was the middle of January, and outside the temperatures were dropping rapidly. Inside they were plummeting as well.
One day she decided to move the suitcase. No, she didn't take it downstairs and put it away. Helping was the last thing on her mind. Instead, she carried it into their bedroom and put it down in the middle of the floor where her husband walked, effectively blocking his path to the bed. Now he would see firsthand how irritating it was to arrange one's life around a misplaced suitcase.
She returned to the kitchen expecting to feel a certain amount of satisfaction andrelief. She felt neither. Nor did she feel the least bit smug. What she felt was an overwhelming sense of sadness and grief. She knew her husband had not intentionally left the suitcase out; he had simply forgotten about it. Yet even knowing that, she clung to her "right" to feel offended and hostile.
She stood in the kitchen and thought about the suitcase. Had it belonged to guests, she would have happily taken it from their hands and insisted on putting it away herself. So why, she wondered, was she unwilling to help her husband in the same way? Why was it so much easier to serve others than it was to serve her husband? She took a good long look at herself and didn't like what she saw. No wonder she felt grieved. Something needed to change, all right, and it had nothing at all to do with a suitcase.
A Wife's Calling Is from God
If someone asked you what the most satisfying aspect of your life is, what would you answer? Is it being a:
Mother? Teacher? Friend? Career woman?
Grandparent? Where would being a wife fit? Would it make the top five, or would it fall miserably towards the bottom?
For many years, our marriage relationships were the least fulfilling, least satisfying, and least successful relationships that either of us experienced. Though we didn't know each other at the time, our lives were amazingly similar in this regard. We got along well with everyone else in our lives-our families, friends, neighbors, the postman, the bank tellers, the store clerks. Everyone-except our husbands. This was troublesome and discouraging, but at some point along the way, we let ourselves off the hook by deciding that this surely must be "their problem."
But it wasn't; it was ours. We had no idea what God's job description was for us as wives, and so we weren't doing what we could to be the kind of wives God wanted us to be. It was only when we discovered what this job description was and began applying biblical principles to our marriages that we began to find satisfaction and happiness as wives and as women.
God never intended for us to be frustrated or confused. He was clear and exact about our role when He stood in His freshly formed garden. And He hasn't changed His mind. Popular opinion would have us believe that as the world progresses, so should our thinking. But that is simply not true in regard to God's Word. It remains the one steady thing in a constantly changing world.
God Knows Our Differences
In testing the market for this book, we went into a large, nationally known bookstore and asked the manager what books were available on a wife's job description.
"After scanning five hundred entries, all I can find on 'wife' is listed under 'fiction,'" she said.
We told her of our plans to write such a book, and a doubtful expression quickly crossed her face. As we left the store, she called out, "Be careful!"
We asked her what she meant.
"Every woman is so different, how can you possibly write one job description that would fit all women?" she responded.
Of course God knew just how different we are when He specifically spelled out His own expectations, promises, and blessings for a woman who would take on the role of wife as He created it. Just as His Word does not change in a changing world, it does not vacillate according to our differences.
There are three main points that will be discussed in this chapter.
The Role: Helper The Reason: Man's Aloneness The Relationship: Marriage
As we look at these aspects of our job description, we will see that they are perfectly designed for us by God.
The Role: Helper
God's plan for us was revealed as He put the finishing touches on His creation. It's found in Genesis 2 and is simple and straightforward:
"It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him. (Genesis 2:18, AMP, emphasis added)
There it is, God's perfect plan for a wife! To be a helper. God's role for a wife in the Garden of Eden is the same one for a wife today. Why would God create and bless all He had brought into being, from the skies and seas to the plants and trees, comment that "It is good," and then deliberately shortchange women? He would not, and He did not. We were called by God to a role that only we could fulfill. In God's eyes, creation was not complete without woman.
And God Created Woman
God had created the heavens and the earth and all things which existed therein and declared them to be not only good, but very good. Then God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed life into his nostrils, and Adam became a living being. God gave Adam the responsibility of rulership and cultivating the Garden. He was given the freedom to eat from any tree but one. God warned him that if he did eat from the forbidden tree, he would die (Genesis 1:26-31; 2:7-8, 16-17).
Then God said that it was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). Adam's aloneness was deemed to be "not good" by a perfect God. Have you ever thought about that? This was the first time He said that something about His creation wasn't good.
He had Adam uncover his own need by first directing him to give names to all of the animals. In doing so, Adam discovered that there was no one suitable for him (Genesis 2:19-20).Woman was then created: "I will make him a helper," God said (Genesis 2:18). It is a surprise to many to learn that this role was given while the world was still in its perfect state-before sin entered it.
The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and as he slept, God took a rib from him and fashioned Eve. God then brought Eve to Adam. When Adam saw her he said, "She is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh" (Genesis 2:21-23). In effect he was saying, "I am complete when I am with her."
A High and Holy Title
How does it make you feel to know that you are called to be a helper to your husband? Do you like it? Or do you wish it were different?
We seem to love the idea of God tossing out the stars and calling each of them by name (Psalm 147:4). We are speechless at the very thought of Him, God Almighty, knitting us together in our mothers' wombs and ordaining all of our days (Psalm 139: 13-16). We are awed when we read that He measured the waters in the hollow of His hand and marked off the heavens by His hand's breadth (Isaiah 40:12). These things only confirm to us what we already know-He is God. Awesome, almighty, and perfect. Yet we tend to balk at our role as helper.
In fact, this role is a reflection of who God is.
A Precious Name
Helper is a title God uses of Himself over and over again in Scripture. The term helper is a precious word. There is nothing inferior, demeaning, or second-rate about it.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. (Isaiah 41:10, NIV).
God is reassuring His people, telling them not to worry or fear because He, the God of the universe, will be their helper.
A friend told us, "Never once have I thought about being a helper in this way. I thought of it as one of the many things I do. But now I see it as who I am. I no longer see it as doing something. I see it as being someone. I realize that I've never given it the priority that it was meant to have because I was never taught to do so. If Jesus considers being a helper a worthy calling (Hebrews 13:1), then I want to aspire to that calling as well."
This woman had grabbed hold of what being a helper is all about. It's not something you do after you've done everything else. It's not about what you do at all. It's about who you are.
Helper: One who gives assistance or support to another, making life more pleasant or bearable.
Would your husband say that because of you, his life is more pleasant and bearable? Would he say he can depend on you for assistance? For support? Or does he shy away from making even the most simple request, fearing your reaction? Mine (Connie's) did.
A Stubborn Heart
When I (Connie) first heard this teaching, I thought to myself, You must be kidding. Are you sure about this? God's will for me in my marriage is to be a helper to my husband? And that's all? Simply a helper. Only a helper?
The verse had a familiar ring to it, yet there was little doubt in my mind that the words, "helper to her husband," weren't meant to stand alone. There must be another phrase qualifying those words. There had to be more to that verse than just that verse!
When I got home I looked at this verse in other versions of the Bible. They all said the same thing. I was thinking, Why has no one brought this to my attention before? And why now?
Little did I realize that I was rapidly approaching the turning point in my marriage.
I was less than excited about the idea at the time, however. If being a helper was what it was all about, I'd far sooner have a helper than be one. What a compromise, I thought, and what a misuse of the abilities God has given me. I didn't understand what there was to be excited about. If all of the titles in the world were listed on a sheet of paper, and we could choose just one, I frankly didn't see that there would be a mad scramble for the title of helper.
In the early years of my marriage, however, I actually had been a devoted helper to my husband. Not because I was focused on God's Word, but because of my deep love for my husband. I delighted in making him happy, and I looked for opportunities to lighten his load. Somewhere along the way, though, I got tired of helping. My enthusiasm faded, and I no longer enjoyed doing this. My delight was no longer found in making him happy, and soon I began to keep score.
Surely, I thought, it is time for my husband to do his part. I've done my share, now he can do his.
My plan was quite simple. I would just slip my heart into neutral until my husband caught on. He didn't catch on very quickly. This could take longer than I expected, I said to myself. I dug my heels in a little further, determined to wait him out.
And so began the long siege of waiting for my husband to change. My heart no longer felt like it was in neutral. It was definitely in reverse, and the engine was cold. The young wife who had taken pleasure in tending to her husband's needs was a distant memory. Over time, my heart grew hard. And harder. And harder still.
Things were not working out the way I had envisioned. I shouldn't have been surprised. I was trying to rewrite God's job description to benefit myself. I discovered that neither our hearts nor our wills are able to slip into neutral. They go one way or the other. We are either obeying God, or we are disobeying. At best, using the word neutral was an attempt to cloak my disobedience.
When I learned more about God's job description for me as a wife, my heart was stirred. I believe it was the Holy Spirit convicting me of my need to change. It was a humbling time as I considered stepping back into being a wife God's way. I found myself taking small steps, even half steps. I was still uncertain, perhaps because of my lack of knowledge, lack of trust, or not wanting to be the one to change. Probably it was a blend of all three. But my way obviously wasn't working. So I confessed:
my pride, my disobedience, my contentiousness, and my scorekeeping.
I told God that, shaky and unsure as I was, I was willing to do things His way. With a prayer in my heart, I began to reclaim the calling that God had given me. I set out, wobbly legs and all, to be a helper to my husband. Once I chose to do that, I began to feel a joy and a peace that I had not felt for a very long time. I began to experience a deeper relationship with my husband and with my Lord as well.
How About You?
If you have been resisting God's Word, what is your reason? Could it be pride? Or bitterness? Or an unforgiving spirit towards your husband? In my case (Nancy), it was ignorance.
I feel that I've had two lives in my marriage. For the first twenty-three years I was busy being a wife in whatever manner suited me for the day. I let my emotions rule my behavior. I didn't know God as He reveals Himself in Scripture-I didn't own a Bible until I was forty-one. I certainly had no idea that He had a plan for me as a wife. For the past seventeen years, however, after discovering what God's Word has to say about marriage, I began to practice the principles in this book in my marriage, and with His help, I have changed.
The Reason: Man's Aloneness
It was when the Lord God looked upon the aloneness of Adam that He created Eve.
"It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him." (Genesis 2:18, AMP, emphasis added)
In researching this book, we asked a male friend to ask his Bible study group this question: "If there is one thing I miss in my marriage it is ____________________." One of the most frequent answers was companionship. Men desire companionship with their mates. They long for someone with whom they can share life's experiences. The men's personality traits, income level, and education had nothing to do with their answers. Companionship was listed by almost every man in the group.
As our friend told us later, "I believe that men are lonelier today than they have ever been. With all of the electronics, video games, reading material, sports programs, and endless list of things you can do to fill up your time, most men have never felt so alone."
Men are lonely today, just as Adam was in the Garden of Eden. Because of this aloneness, woman was created. Could it be that man's loneliness today may be due in part because women have abandoned their God-given roles and are busy doing their own thing and going their own way? Has this contributed to man regressing back to the lonely state he knew in the Garden? The question, "Would your husband say he feels less alone because you are his wife?" haunted me (Connie). I remember physically cringing as I contemplated this thought. Maybe it's not as bad as I think, I told myself. So I asked my husband about it.
He replied, "I've felt alone many times in our marriage. I remember a point when I felt more alone when I was with you than I did when I was actually by myself. I have never felt more alone than I did at those times."
This was not the reassuring answer I had hoped to hear, yet it came as no surprise. There was a time in our marriage when we both felt that way. There was no talking, no touching, no shared glances, and no laughter.
It is a testimony to God's faithfulness and love that this has changed. This occurred when I began to work on my marriage and apply biblical principles. My heart began to soften, and I saw my husband in a completely different light.
Putting Words into Action
What can a woman do to make sure her husband isn't lonely? Simply being there for your husband is a wonderful way to begin! One way to be there for him is to show how important he is to you by your attentiveness. How others respond to us shapes the way we see ourselves. Men thrive on positive responses-from their bosses, their coworkers, their customers, but especially from their wives. Is your husband thriving, or is he barely eking out an existence in your home?
Excerpted from Is There A MOOSE In Your Marriage? by NANCY COBB CONNIE GRIGSBY Copyright © 2000 by Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Table of Contents
|Part 1||A Wife's role|
|Chapter 1||Given by God||17|
|Part 2||Laying the Foundation|
|Chapter 4||Abiding in Christ||99|
|Part 3||The Job Description|
|Chapter 5||Order in the Home||129|
|Chapter 6||Godly Behavior||161|
|Chapter 7||Holy Beauty||197|
|Part 4||Family Relationships|
|Chapter 8||Reclaiming Your Priorities||225|
|Part 5||The Motivation|
|Chapter 9||Marriage Is a Ministry||255|
|Part 6||The Results|
|Chapter 10||Triumphs and Testimonies||275|
|Chapter 11||A Speechless Husband Speaks||299|